I’m A Celeb newbie Russell Watson is looking forward to giving pal Vernon Kay a hug when he enters camp… after a year of social-distancing

Russell Watson will see at least one familiar face when he is sent into the I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! castle this week.

The 53-year-old musician has worked with Vernon Kay in the past and says he’s looking forward to seeing him – and hugging him.

‘It would be nice to give someone a hug and say hello!’ Russell told MailOnline on Tuesday, referencing 2020’s strict social distancing rules. ‘I know a couple of them in there already – Vernon I know really well.

New boy: Russell Watson will see at least one familiar face when he is sent into the I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here! castle this week

New boy: Russell Watson will see at least one familiar face when he is sent into the I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! castle this week

‘They are a good bunch of people. I’ve met Beverley [Callard] a few times. She’s a really warm bubbly lady.

‘It will be nice to see them and be within two metres of them. Put an arm around their shoulder.’

Russell will be heading into the show with another newcomer Ruthie Henshall – and had to keep it a secret from most people in his life. ‘I had to keep it a secret from my kids which wasn’t easy,’ he said.

This is also the sixth time he’s been asked to take part on the show.

Pals: 'It would be nice to give someone a hug and say hello!' Russell told MailOnline on Tuesday, referencing 2020's strict social distancing rules. 'I know a couple of them in there already - Vernon I know really well'

Pals: ‘It would be nice to give someone a hug and say hello!’ Russell told MailOnline on Tuesday, referencing 2020’s strict social distancing rules. ‘I know a couple of them in there already – Vernon I know really well’

‘I don’t know why this year I felt like a different challenge,’ he said of his decision to sign up for the show. ‘The decision wasn’t related to Covid. 

‘It’s more that I’m known for my singing and being on the stage but people don’t know my personality that well. Plus this will test my metal a bit.’

Yet Russell isn’t worried about the public’s perception of him, adding: ‘One of the things I’ve learnt in the last 20 years is that people will either like you or they won’t. You can’t alter people’s perceptions.’

Russell added: 'They are a good bunch of people. I've met Beverley [Callard] a few times. She's a really warm bubbly lady'

Russell added: ‘They are a good bunch of people. I’ve met Beverley [Callard] a few times. She’s a really warm bubbly lady’

He added: 'It will be nice to see them and be within two metres of them. Put an arm around their shoulder'

He added: ‘It will be nice to see them and be within two metres of them. Put an arm around their shoulder’

On prepping for the show, Russell said: ‘Because of lockdown I have focused on my fitness. Playing tennis, cycling, been back on weight training. So have been getting into the best shape I can.

‘With any kind of competition, I always want to give it my best shot. Although I wouldn’t be surprised if I didn’t win.’

Russell also added that he’s had to try quitting coffee, and that he’s been dreaming about ‘those Nespresso cartridges chasing me down the streets 10ft high’.

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I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! airs at 9PM on ITV. 

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